Volume XXXVII Issue I January 2018
Last Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 806, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Phone: 920-887-2626 Internet: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?"
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
` I John 4:18
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it."
In this issue of the Last Trumpet Newsletter, we will again look at today's current events and the happenings of a stressed and anxious world. There is no doubt that the people of the United States have a lot on their minds lately. There is great anxiety as the masses despair over this country's government, and there is great animosity between people due to differing political, religious, and philosophical beliefs and opinions. A Gallup poll published in December 2017 reported that 79 percent, or an astounding eight out of ten Americans who responded to the poll, are "afflicted by stress." (1) This stress is common in the United States despite the fact that reports indicate the American economy is strong, and the official rate of unemployment is only 4.1 percent. (2) In 2017 the unemployment rates in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee fell to their lowest points in forty years (3) while employers around the country are now having a difficult time finding enough workers to fill open positions. (4) Based on these reports, this should indicate a happy and prosperous time in the United States of America. Why are stress levels so high? Perhaps it is the sharp acrimony the American people have towards each other or the constant threat of war that dominates headlines in the United States.
Amazingly enough, researchers have found that an active prayer life and having a close connection to God is an effective method to relieve stress. "Where the perception of God is secure, warm and loving, then prayer is associated with positive mental health outcomes and coping with stressors. But when the perception of God is distant or disconnected, prayer is associated with negative outcomes," said Blake V. Kent of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. (5) In Luke 18:1 Jesus taught us that "men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Thus, we find in Scripture the necessity of an ongoing and active prayer life. My father would often say that "prayer is a heart-to-heart talk with God." As such, we have a direct connection to our God and are strengthened by that connection when we pray.
Conversely, when people do not have a strong connection to God, they are often not only stressed but fearful. This problem is further amplified by a widespread interest in occult superstitions. On December 20, 2017, USA Today published an article with a headline stating, "Dec. 21 will be the worst day of 2017, astrologers say." The article then cites an astrologer who claimed that this day, which happened to be a witches' holiday known as the Winter Solstice, was going to be especially awful because of the position of the constellation Capricorn and the planet Saturn in relation to the sun. (6) These vain superstitions often dictate what people will or will not do and cause occult-minded people to alter their plans. The aforementioned article even suggested that American President Donald Trump would not sign a new tax reform bill on this day because it would be a bad time to start something new. (7) Whether or not President Trump is prone to these occult superstitions, I cannot say. However, former First Lady, Hillary Clinton certainly is. Even the liberally-inclined fact-checking website known as Snopes admits that Clinton used to commune with the dead spirit of her hero, Eleanor Roosevelt. (8) President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were also known to have a keen interest in astrology. (9) Thus, just as the ancient kings of Babylon, such as Nebuchadnezzar, had astrologers, prominent figures in Washington, D.C., also have theirs.
While the behavior of superstitious people is dictated by fear, it is not so among God's people. In I John 4:18 we are told, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." To be truly set free from fear and superstition, we must submit our lives to God and follow our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In so doing, we will also find the strength to overcome the stressful condition of our world. I urge every reader of this newsletter to repent of your sins if you have not already done so and dedicate your life to God.
The Gathering Storm Clouds
The world we live in is seldom a peaceful place. There are constant wars and rumors of wars all over the planet, and if you follow the headlines today, it is obvious that this fact is not going to change anytime soon. While we are now being told by the news media that the war between the Western World and the Islamic State, or ISIS, is on the verge of its conclusion (10) and that the civil war in Syria is ending, (11) prominent officials in the United States are signaling that we are perilously close to a war with North Korea.
On December 22, 2017, United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that "storm clouds are gathering" over North Korea. Addressing American soldiers in a speech, Mattis told them, "My fine young soldiers, the only way our diplomats can speak with authority and be believed is if you're ready to go." He later went on to say, "There is very little reason for optimism." (12) Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is from South Carolina, also warned that a military conflict with North Korea could be coming very soon. "We're getting close to a military conflict because North Korea's marching toward marrying up the technology of an I.C.B.M. [intercontinental ballistic missile] with a nuclear weapon on top that cannot only get to America but deliver the weapon," Graham said. He further went on to say, "We're running out of time. I'm going to urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea. South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour. It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. So I want them to stop sending dependents. And I think it's now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea." (13)
A war between the United States and North Korea would also be a cause of great concern for Japan. Separated only by the Sea of Japan, the nation of Japan is only about 650 miles away from North Korea. Japan has long been considered a close ally to the United States and hosts a major American military base as well as an American Naval base. (14) If a war should break out, these military installations would almost certainly be targeted. For this reason, the Japanese capital city of Tokyo is planning to hold nuclear missile attack simulations and evacuation drills. Considering the fact that North Korea has launched numerous missiles this year over the Sea of Japan, it is not surprising that the Japanese people are on edge. "I believe the threat is very real and that war could break out at any time," a resident of Tokyo said. (15)
China also seems to be preparing for war. According to the New York Times, refugee camps are being constructed in China along the North Korean border at three villages in Changbai County and at two cities in the province of Jilin. (16) Meanwhile, the Chinese air force announced plans to conduct new military drills along "routes and areas it has never flown before." This move could be interpreted as a warning to the United States and South Korea. "The timing of this high-profile announcement by the PLA (People's Liberation Army) is also a warning to Washington and Seoul (South Korea) not to provoke Pyongyang (North Korea) any further," opined military expert Li Jie who resides in Beijing, China. (17)
If the United States should decide to bomb North Korea, it is difficult to know how China will react. China is North Korea's only major ally, and it is China that provides North Korea with a means of survival. Yet, at times, China seems to be exasperated by the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un. "The North Koreans have always driven China crazy, and for their part, the North Koreans have always felt betrayed by China. But both sides need each other in elemental ways," said Professor John Delury, who is an associate professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. (18)
We may find out very soon what war with North Korea will look like. The news media, which certainly is not always reliable, is now reporting that the United States is planning an attack that would give the North Korean regime a figurative punch in the nose. "The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention, and show that we're serious," said an unknown but supposedly "well-placed" source according to the Daily Telegraph. (19)
Meanwhile, Russia is livid with the United States. In December 2017, it was announced that the United States government is selling Ukraine an assortment of weapons, including anti-tank missiles, valued at 47 million dollars. This development prompted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to say, "Today, the United States clearly pushes (Ukrainian authorities) towards new bloodshed. American weapons can lead to new victims." (20) Grigory Karasin, who is also a Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, was quoted as saying, "This is unacceptable." (21)
What does the future hold? We cannot say for sure, but there are many warnings now being sounded. On December 21, 2017, United States Marine Corps commandant General Robert Neller told his troops stationed in Norway, "I hope I'm wrong, but there's a war coming. You're in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence," Neller said, implying that there could be a war not only with North Korea but also with Russia. (22) Thankfully, we serve a God without limitations, and He can topple kingdoms. I pray that God will spare us all from the horrors of these potential wars.
A Cup Of Trembling
In 1995 the United States Congress passed a law known as the "Jerusalem Embassy Act." This law called for the formal recognition of the city of Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of the nation of Israel, and for the U.S. Embassy located in Tel Aviv to be moved to Jerusalem. Since the law's passage over twenty-two years ago, every American president has used waivers to avoid the implementation of this law. That changed on December 6, 2017. In a highly controversial speech, President Trump announced that the United States now officially considers the city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. (23) Trump's decision has sparked outrage in the Islamic world. "Declaring Jerusalem a capital is disregarding history and the truths in the region, it is a big injustice/cruelty, shortsightedness, foolishness/madness, it is plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight," wrote the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Bekir Bozdag. (24) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan also expressed his outrage and called for the world to give the United States "a very good lesson." (25) Chairman of the Arab Joint List Ayman Odeh declared that Donald Trump is "a pyromaniac who could set the entire region on fire with his madness." (26)
Trump's declaration was also rejected by the United Nations. On December 21, 2017, the General Assembly at the United Nations passed a resolution stating that Trump's decision is "null and void." One hundred twenty-eight nations voted in favor of this resolution, with only nine countries, the United States, Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo voting against it. Some nations, including Canada and Mexico, declined to vote. (27) In response to the vote, American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was angry and defiant. "The United States will remember this day, on which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation," Haley said. She also stated, "America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do. And it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that." (28)
Pope Francis also voiced his displeasure with Trump's decision. The New York Times quoted Francis as saying, "I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that developed in recent days and, at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city [Jerusalem] in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations." (29)
There is perhaps no city on earth more contentious than the city of Jerusalem. For as long as I have been alive, I have heard of "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinians, and yet, these talks have never yielded peace. In Zechariah 12:2-3 we find a very fitting description of Jerusalem. These verses tell us, "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." In the May 2009 issue of the Last Trumpet, my father, Pastor David J. Meyer, noted these same verses and wrote, "A cup of trembling is one that cannot be carried without spilling its contents, and a burdensome stone is one that takes every effort to try to move, but without success." (30) Thus, the city of Jerusalem will likely remain a contentious place even as we move through time and closer to the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. One thing is obvious: Donald Trump is the most pro-Israel President in United States history.
Closer Yet To A Cashless World
The trend towards a global cashless society is a topic I often write about in this newsletter. This was especially true throughout the year of 2017 as we saw many amazing developments, including an announcement from the famous credit card company Visa that it was declaring a "war on cash." As we enter the year of 2018, this trend is not only continuing but gaining momentum.
A familiar sight throughout the month of December in the United States is the Salvation Army bell-ringers. It is not unusual to see volunteers standing outside of supermarkets and other establishments ringing a bell and collecting cash and coins in their iconic red kettles. However, the Salvation Army has noticed a trend this year: donations have decreased because fewer people are carrying cash. As a result of this decline in collections, the Salvation Army is now looking for a way to accept cashless transactions next year. (31)
New trends often first appear in large cities. That is certainly true of New York City where a growing number of eateries are now refusing to accept cash. This includes a newly opened restaurant in Manhattan known as Dig Inn. At this establishment, a woman recently attempted to pay for her food and was told by the cashier, "We don't take cash." Rather than accept cash that the customer already had in hand, the cashier told the customer, "Just this one time, we'll give it to you on the house. But just so you know, in the future." (32) I find it remarkable that this establishment would rather give a meal away than accept physical money. Yet, this is the trend in New York City. At another establishment called Pokee, which is located in Greenwich Village, cash is generally eschewed there as well. "If you have exact change, we'll take it. We give it to the manager and he puts it in a safe. Because we don't have a register," said the woman behind the counter. (33) Then there is a chain of restaurants known as Del Toros. These thirteen Mexican restaurants are more than happy to sell you a burrito, as long as you do not try to pay with cash. According to the chain's leaders, accepting cash is too much of a hassle. "There's something fundamentally demoralizing when you have the leader of the restaurant back in the office, counting, instead of out on the floor," said Del Toros' co-chief executive Leo Kremer. (34) The people who operate these establishments obviously have a very low opinion of cash. This could be a sign of things to come. In the future, people may view cash as something obsolete and unwanted. Future generations may not even know what it is like to hold physical currency or to count out change.
Consider what is now happening in Israel. In July 2014 a report was published by a special committee aiming to reduce the use of cash by the Israeli population. The finance ministry is now looking to pass legislation that will impose hard limits on how much cash can be used in a single transaction. Should the proposed rules become law, transactions involving a business and an individual would eventually be capped at 5,000 shekels, which is the equivalent of about 1,435 US dollars. Transactions between two individuals would be capped at 25,000 shekels, the equivalent of about 7,175 US dollars. Conducting transactions beyond these limits will be a criminal offense. "In a digital age, cash will have no significance. It is appropriate that in this issue as well the State of Israel lead the process and enter the new age in a prepared and innovative manner," declared Harel Locker who is the director general of the Israeli Prime Minister's office. Locker, who headed the special committee pushing for these new rules, says the goal is to move to "a cashless society." (35)
Meanwhile, Singapore's first cashless café recently opened for business. Ducatus Café has a wide array of coffees, teas, salads, and sandwiches, but if you wish to purchase any of these items, you must use one of two digital currencies, bitcoin or Ducatus coin. Both methods of payment are what is commonly known as a cryptocurrency. In other words, these currencies use special cryptography schemes to create, dispense, and log new transactions. The owners of this café are hoping to help move cryptocurrencies to the mainstream. "The idea of the café was developed because we wanted to make sure that people can use our Ducatus coins but also bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies in day-to-day business. Right now, cryptocurrencies are mostly used for speculation on markets… we want to make it part of our daily life," said chief executive officer Ronny Tome. (36) Singapore is unique in that it is both a city and an independent state. Despite its relatively small geographic location, it is an important city. In fact, Singapore is the second largest Asian investor in the United States. (37) As such, it is not surprising that Singapore is often used as a testing ground for new technologies.
As we move continuously closer to a global cashless society, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are edging closer to mainstream acceptance. Yet, bitcoin is a highly volatile currency that is not backed by a country, a bank, or an institution. In reality, bitcoin is nothing except lines of code on a computer screen that cannot be held or touched. Could currencies of this nature be the money of the future? On December 18, 2017, the Washington Post published an article with a headline that declares, "Bitcoin is big. But fedcoin is bigger." The article suggests that the technology behind bitcoin may someday be used to release a new digital currency backed by the United States Federal Reserve. "It is only a matter of time before paper money is phased out," the article insists. (38) I highly doubt that this new currency would only be released in the United States. In all likelihood, it will be a global currency. If you stop and think about it, that is really what bitcoin is, and therefore bitcoin is a proof of a digital concept. An important question is: how can a digital currency be made accessible to all, including those who own no devices? Perhaps that is a problem that they would seek to solve with a microchip implant. In such a scenario, the people themselves become the devices.
A Spirit Of Confusion
Without a doubt, there is a widespread spirit of confusion at work in our world today. In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about transgender people. It is a sad fact that so many men and women are confused about their gender to the point that some claim to be no gender at all. I believe these people are being tormented by evil spirits. At times we hear or read some rather strange comments. For example, the singer who calls herself Pink recently said in an interview, "I'm a (expletive) grown-up now; it's so weird. I'm still a 12-year-old boy." The singer also said that she and her husband are raising their children to be gender neutral. (39)
In another bizarre twist, the radio station KJZZ in Phoenix, Arizona, recently featured a story about an entire family that has gone transgender. This includes the husband who was born female, the wife who was born male, the daughter who was born as a boy, and the son who was born as a girl. (40) "It feels like you're getting to live for the first time. And my children are getting to be who they've always wanted to be," said the husband who was born female. (41) Sadly, sometimes this spirit of confusion rubs off on others. This is a tragic example of children imitating their parents. Such situations are only going to become more common in the days ahead as society becomes more secular and moves further and further away from God.
In closing, we certainly live in a stressful and confusing time. Yet, we know the one who is never confused, stressed, or worried about anything. In Matthew 6:25-27 we are admonished by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" Humans always have a propensity to worry, but doing so changes nothing. It is far better to heed the words of the Apostle Peter that we find in I Peter 5:6-7 which tells us, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
Thank you all for your kind support of this ministry. We are blessed and privileged to serve you. Please remember that we are always here to pray for you and whatever your needs may be. Every prayer request we receive is always given individual attention and we firmly believe in the power of prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Samuel David Meyer
This newsletter is made possible by the kind donations of our supporters. If you would like to help us, you may send your contribution to our postal address or donate online at http://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org/donate.
01. Gallup, December 20, 2017, By Lydia Saad, http://gallup.com.
02. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, December 8, 2017, http://bls.gov.
03. The Hill, December 22, 2017, By Reid Wilson, http://thehill.com.
04. National Public Radio, August 31, 2017, By John Ydstie, http://npr.org.
05. Religion News Service, December 21, 2017, By Yonat Shimron, http://religionnews.com.
06. USA Today, December 20, 2017, By Bill Ervolino, http://usatoday.com.
08. Snopes, November 7, 2016, http://snopes.com.
09. The New York Times, May 4, 1988, By Steven V. Roberts, http://nytimes.com.
10. Fox News, December 8, 2017, By Hollie McKay, http://foxnews.com.
11. The Guardian, November 21, 2017, By Patrick Wintour, http://theguardian.com.
12. Associated Press, December 22, 2017, By Robert Burns, http://apnews.com.
13. Christian Post, December 4, 2017, By Anugrah Kumar, http://christianpost.com.
14. The Telegraph, December 5, 2017, By Julian Ryall, http://telegraph.co.uk.
16. The New York Times, December 11, 2017, By Jane Perlez, http://nytimes.com.
17. Business Insider, December 20, 2017, By Alex Lockie, http://businessinsider.com.
18. Reuters News Service, October 20, 2017, By Foster Klug, http://reuters.com.
19. Business Insider, December 21, 2017, By Alex Lockie, http://businessinsider.com.
20. The Times of Israel, December 24, 2017, By Anna Smolchenko and Oleksandr Savochenko, http://timesofisrael.com.
22. Fox News, December 23, 2017, By Bradford Betz, http://foxnews.com.
23. Whitehouse.gov, Statement by President Donald Trump, December 6, 2017, http://whitehouse.gov.
24. Reuters News Service, December 6, 2017, By Reuters Staff, http://reuters.com.
25. Reuters News Service, December 21, 2017, By Reuters News Servive, http://reuters.com.
26. Haaretz, December 5, 2017, By Yaniv Kubovick and Jack Khoury, http://haaretz.com.
27. BBC News, December 21, 2017, By BBC News, http://bbc.com.
29. Yahoo News, December 6, 2017, By Antonia Blumberg, http://news.yahoo.com.
30. Last Trumpet Newsletter, May 2009, By Pastor David J. Meyer, http://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org.
31. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 25, 2017, By Associated Press, http://stltoday.com.
32. The New York Times, December 25, 2017, By Andy Newman, http://nytimes.com.
35. Arutz Sheva, December 25, 2017, By David Rosenberg, http://israelnationalnews.com.
36. Business Insider, December 21, 2017, By Jessica Lin, http://businessinsider.com.
37. The Strait Times, October 29, 2017, By Nirmal Ghosh, http://straittimes.com.
38. The Washington Post, December 18, 2017, By Campbell R. Harvey, http://washingtonpost.com.
39. Bravo TV, December 5, 2017, By Tamara Palmer, http://bravotv.com.
40. 91.5 KJZZ Radio, December 11, 2017, By Stina Sieg, http://kjzz.org.
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